Skip to main content
Press Release

Airplane passenger removed from cross-country flight diverted to Billings admits interfering with flight crew

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana

BILLINGS — A Washington airline passenger today admitted allegations that he interfered with a flight crew by jumping on a beverage cart and pushing a flight attendant into a seat, screaming and trying to take off his clothes on a flight that was diverted to Billings for his removal, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

Adam Alexander Williams, 33, of Auburn, Washington, pleaded guilty to an indictment charging him with interference with flight members and attendants. William faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, a $25,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Cavan presided. A sentencing date will be set before U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen. The court will determine a sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Williams was released pending further proceedings.

The government alleged in court documents that on Jan. 9, Williams boarded an American Airlines flight departing Seattle, Washington, for a flight to Charlotte, North Carolina. Once in the air, Williams’ behavior turned erratic and escalated. Williams yelled out to no one in particular, “Where is Jamie Sanders?”  At one point, Williams jumped over passengers in his row and on to a beverage cart that was in service. As he came off of the cart, he almost landed on a flight attendant and pushed her into a seat, knocking drinks and cups to the ground. He then began to run down the aisle of the aircraft. Williams’ behavior startled the flight attendant, who later appeared distressed and traumatized.

Another flight attendant was able to calm Williams down and escort him to his seat. About 10 minutes later, Williams began to act up again and screamed an obscenity. Flight attendants placed several Marines, who happened to be on the flight, in seats around Williams. Then, after roughly another 10 minutes, Williams stood up and began screaming while taking off his clothes. At that point, to ensure the safety of passengers, the aircraft’s captain turned the plane around and landed in Billings so that Williams could be removed.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Zeno B. Baucus is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI and Billings Airport Police.



Clair Johnson Howard
Public Affairs Officer

Updated June 30, 2022

Press Release Number: 22-166